Feb 202019

And how to fix it….

So recently, I came across a Windows 10 workstation that was able to get online, but would not access any network resources, file shares or printer shares.

After a few minutes of checking system logs for errors, I happened to notice that the Workstation service would not start, and that the startup string for the service had been truncated, and now looked something like this:

Simulation of original error as displayed by services.

Note, the startup string for it should look like this:

I ran system file checker, which identified and corrected corrupt files – note in 20 years, this is the first time I’ve seen SFC actually report a problem. Alas, as expected, this did not resolve the issue.

To correct the problem, I had to invoke Powershell with administrative rights, and then run the following command to restore the service to an operational state:

sc.exe config lanmanworkstation binPath= “C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe -k NetworkService -p”
Jan 292019

So this has been making me crazy for awhile, and I haven’t come across a solution for it online yet… Every now and again, I’ll accidentally swipe up with three fingers on my 2015 MBP running High Sierra, and Expose will animate half way through and stop. Then I have no keyboard or touchpad, and my only recourse is to hard boot the system, which really sucks!

UPDATE: Further testing shows that when the the display changes, keyboard commands do not function until the transition is completed. Using three fingers, you can slide up or down on the trackpad to complete the transition from one app window to many and back. When the transition is completed, the keyboard responds. I tend to see this on web pages that have a lot of animated or interactive objects on the top window. While scrolling, control can shift focus to the object, a picture or video, and interrupt the action of scrolling down. This can sometimes result in the end user accidentally activating Expose. Yeah, that would be me.

Jan 232019

So the Intel I219V network controller on the ASRock Mini ITX (H170M-ITX/DL) motherboard was trash. It was constantly becoming unresponsive to the point where the firewall just useless. So then I used a USB NIC to work around the problem. Then Untangle updated the firewall code and that stopped working. Then I mothballed the firewall I built and obtained a WRT1900ACS and used Untangle on that…until I recognized that reports only had a few hours of history. CRAP!

So I bought one of these…

I figured, “what the hell.” I need to be able to filter the Internet to make sure the kid is not getting into trouble online, and also to deny Internet to their devices at bed time. It’s also important that I can read the system logs to see if they attempted to go anywhere they shouldn’t.

The firewall worked perfectly until I attempted to load an SSL cert. Then Apache2 died and I lost my ability to connect to the appliance. An hour of mucking about in bash, and I was able to disabled SSL in Apache2 and get back in. Tech support is still trying to work out what happened, so I’m working with the default cert for now. It’s a shame because I was able to load an SSL cert on both other appliances with no problems. I figured the one that said, “Untangle” on it would be a slam dunk.

UPDATE: Tech support identified and corrected the problem that was causing the Apache2 service to fail on restart. My certificate is now in place and I can manage my firewall remotely without having to force the web browser to accept the built-in certificate.

The reports I’m getting daily via e-mail are helpful, and it’s nice to be able to go back and look at the log data. This firewall is much easier to configure than other’s I’ve seen.

This is the rule that blocks Internet access.
These are the rules for each device that block Internet at bedtime.

This is the report that shows the blocked sessions.
Jan 112019

Previously, if you wanted pretty graphs or intel on your Plex server, you had to use Plex.py or Tautulli (the same project). Now simple bandwidth graphs are built into the web interface of Plex Server. Pretty neat stuff.

7 Days of traffic